MILWAUKEE — By air and by car, Donovan Hand is racking up the miles between Milwaukee and Nashville.
The right-hander was sent down to Triple-A on Friday, but was back with the team Wednesday after Rob Wooten was placed on the paternity list. After Wednesday’s 8-6 loss to St. Louis, the Brewers optioned Hand and outfielder/first baseman Sean Halton back to Nashville.
The team didn’t announce corresponding moves, Wooten will be activated from the paternity list, while outfielder Caleb Gindl will come back up to fill Halton’s spot.
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Because there are no direct flights from Nashville to Milwaukee, Hand caught a 6 a.m. flight to Chicago on Wednesday morning where a car was waiting to drive him to Milwaukee.
After pitching a scoreless 1 1/3 innings against the Cardinals, he has to turn right back around and make the return trip.
The 27-year-old pitched well in his first stint in the big leagues and provided the Brewers with flexibility on the pitching staff. Hand made seven starts and 13 relief appearances with a 3.83 ERA, but was sent down to clear room for Yovani Gallardo’s return from the disabled list.
“It is what it is,” Hand said. “It’s a business, and I get it. I pitched fine in a lot of different roles. I was happy with it. It’s just a business. I was the odd man out. It’s never fun to be that guy, but it could be a worse situation.”
The Brewers planned on having Hand pitch in late-game situations in Nashville, but he didn’t get the chance after spending just a few days with the Sounds. Hand allowed two runs over two innings in Nashville’s 20-2 loss to Round Rock on Monday, the worst loss in team history.
In a similar situation, Halton was called up Friday and went 3-for-9 with 4 RBI in his second stint with the Brewers. He knew his stay would be short all along, as the Brewers were just waiting out the minimum 10 days Gindl had to stay in the minor leagues after being optioned down.
“I like what he does,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I like when he comes up here and he helps us out. The thing that hurts probably, I know he can play the outfield, but with ‘Gomey’ a little banged up, we probably need a true outfielder.”
While knowing he was going down doesn’t soften the blow, Halton was happy to get two starts over the weekend.
“When you come up, especially for a short stay, it’s always good to contribute,” Halton said. “I look forward to doing that again.
“It’s been a big year. And it’s that time of year that things happen. Donny and I are going to go down there and give our best effort to get back up here as soon as we can.”
Wooten becomes a father: Brewers manager Ron Roenicke reported a bit of good news Wednesday morning, as he announced Katie Wooten gave birth to a healthy baby girl earlier in the morning.
Unfortunately, the baby came earlier than expected and Rob Wooten missed the birth of his daughter. When he walked into the hospital room, his wife was holding the baby girl.
Both came through the delivery healthy, and Wooten will return to the team in time for Friday’s series opener in Cincinnati. Since making his big league debut on July 26, Wooten has a 0.69 ERA in 12 innings for the Brewers.
“When ‘Frankie’ (Rodriguez) left, it changed a lot where guys roles were,” Roenicke said. “He pitched himself into a role that’s pretty important. Whether it’s getting out of trouble when I think we need to or later on in the game.”
Gomez getting closer: Out of the lineup for the sixth straight game with a sprained right knee, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez expects to start Friday in Cincinnati.
Gomez did more running drills and took batting practice prior to Wednesday’s game, but was still unavailable to pinch hit.
With Thursday being an off day and Friday a night game, Gomez can actually let the knee rest for three more full days. After a week of sitting out, Gomez is anxious to get back despite the Brewers not being in the race.
“It doesn’t matter if your team is in the race or not,” Gomez said. “We have to finish with a better record to help set expectations for next year. We know we are better than the way we’ve played so far. We’ve proved that last couple of weeks. We’ve been playing better — pitching, offense, defense.”
Aoki sits: Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki was held out of the lineup Wednesday due to soreness in his right knee.
The knee has been bothering Aoki recently, and Roenicke says patellar tendonitis is the cause of the pain. With the day off Thursday, Aoki will have two full days off and is expected to return to the lineup Friday in Cincinnati.
Aoki pinch hit with two on and two outs in the seventh inning and flew out to right.